Granted, I know they're not in the majority. But it's refreshing to see celebs choose a more user-friendly approach to birth. And young women, too - I think that's awesome. They are sending a message that yes!, this is possible and no, you don't have to grow your armpit hair long and braid it or eat Grape Nuts cereal every day in order to want a natural birth.
Among the list are:
Gisele Bundchen - At the top of the list is supermodel-turned-birth-activist Gisele Bundchen. Everybody's heard about her bathtub home birth, and while some are riled about it, who gives a crap. She should be at the top of the list - but I'm not sure many people understand why. Given the fact that in her home country of Brazil the c-section rate is around 36 percent, and she chose an unmedicated home birth, I think this is of the utmost importance. We can only hope that her fellow countrywomen are looking on from afar, thinking, "Hey, maybe a vaginal birth isn't such a bad idea." I'd love to hear what Brazilians think of her as a result. And the reaction elsewhere? The Daily Mail says, "Gisele claims son Benjamin's birth didn't hurt." Claims? What, do you think she's lying?
Nicole Richie - The actress refused "even an aspirin" in labor with her daughter, which the author describes as "hardcore." Considering Nicole is a recovering drug addict, I can see her reluctance to have pain meds. What makes that "hardcore"? I think it's smart. This is probably one gray area that is often ignored - the addict who is managing pain of labor. I remember reading (maybe on The Unnecessarean?) about an addicted mother who refused pain meds, and the nurse made sure to come in early and often to badger the patient into getting an epi. I can't think of a more humiliating experience - having your addiction thrown in your face, especially when you're trying so hard to overcome it.
Jessica Alba - This young, first-time mom had a very 'zen birth' with daughter Honor and apparently 'didn't make a sound.' The author's comment: "Ok, somebody's lying." Huh?
I found that vocalizing during labor helped, but it's different for everyone. Many women make noises, many are quiet - it's not all the way you see childbirth portrayed on soap operas. I've heard women claim that screaming is a 'sign of weakness,' which I think is complete garbage: we know that for some, vocalizing can help them manage pain and works as a release, of sorts. I tell people, "I screamed in labor not because of the pain, but because it was freaking hard work!"
Joely Fisher - Carrie Fisher's younger half-sister gave birth to daughter True Harlow Fisher-Duddy at home, in the company of doulas, midwives, and a doctor, according to mom. The author's comment: when we can't think of a jab to make about her opting out of pain meds, let's say something creative, like "Maybe each person got to pick one of the baby's million names?" What?
Interestingly, the article's author mentions a friend who'd recently had a baby and felt that she was manipulated into having a c-section for fetal distress. Of course, when the baby was born, it was perfectly fine. The author even mentions Ricki Lake's movie "The Business of Being Born." And yet, the overall tone of the piece is that women who choose to opt out of the epi are somehow crazy, liars or "hard core," which attaches sort of a freak label to the whole thing. For some who might be curious about a natural birth, this association alone might be enough to completely scare them away from the idea, and 'poor and less-educated' seems to have little to do with it: "Women who give birth without drugs are out to prove something, and are completely nuts."